The Archipelago Rises is now proudly helping to spread the Twice Removed Records word. Very limited presses, all DIY; this micro-label out of Perth is releasing some very fine ambient/experimental recordings that YOU need to listen to. Head music, straight up.
Ryonkt – Troposphere
Intelligent review here from Sam Gilies at Cyclic Defrost:
Ryonkt is the alias for Japanese artist Ryo Nakata’s guitar-drone project. On his fifth album, Troposphere, Ryonkt seems to leave behind the field recordings and gentle melodies and articulations of his previous releases and focus instead on the construction of thick slabs of pulsing, static texture, a subtler approach that makes this release a more demanding listen than one might initially expect.
There is no recognisable melodic phrasing across the album. The feeling of melody is still present, however through electronic manipulation what might have started out as melody has been transformed into droning meta-structures whose subtle changes and colourations require focused and attentive listening. While the album credits the use of guitar as the source of the sound on display here, in reality there is nothing particularly reminiscent of an electric guitar in the sound of the album. The expected sharp attacks of pitches have been stretched, distorting the timbre and expanding the one-dimensional texture of the electric guitar into a rounded sea of clouded frequencies, sounding surprisingly akin to the synth pads of an early Tangerine Dream recording. Subtle, repetitive pulses push the sound forward, with each layer of sound clearly audible so that the listener can flick their attention between different aspects of the wall of sound at will. The recordings never seem to get messy or unfocused however, there is a definite sense of structure on this album, it’s just that the structure is rather homogenous.
Overall, this album is static drone at its most uncompromising, and the value the listener will derive from the release is entirely dependent on how much interest they have in seeking out the subtle sound shapes that gradually form across these colourful and uplifting slabs of texture. For the listener that is seeking out some ethereal, spaced out drone, Troposphere will satisfy.
Another review from Richard Allen at A Closer Listen:
After a blur of releases from 2007-2010, Ryo Nakata all but dropped off the radar. Troposphere is his confident comeback. This Japanese drone artist, computer and guitar in tow, has produced a flowing series of robe-like tones that oscillate, retreat and return. While brass and organ do not appear, their timbres are present: an aural illusion akin to the blending of elements in a Long Island Iced Tea (plenty of ingredients, none of them tea). When listening to the album’s finest track, “Troposphere One”, one can also imagine a string quartet. This tonal experimentation is a hallmark of Ryonkt‘s work; on the surface, each track is one long note, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Strange shapes are moving beneath: a chord beneath a chord, a note beneath a note.
Neither harsh nor placid, the album retains a near universal volume. If any criticism is to be made, it is that the set suffers from a lack of dynamic contrast; the tracks are mastered clearly and loudly, but tend to launch and recede within a matter of seconds. No sudden moves are made as the sounds travel within their respective geographies. If some of these elements were brought to the fore – if, for example, a track were allowed to build from silence or shed its clothes for a spell, each layer could be appreciated all the more. Yet those who prefer the sustained to the segmented are likely to bask in Troposphere‘s regal appeal.
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